This article first appeared in Phnom Penh Post on 22 January 2016. We have reproduced it for the information of those of you who missed it when it was published.
As medical travel becomes increasingly viable for patients in Cambodia to head to places like Singapore for treatment, more and more specialists have sprouted to cater to the growing influx. At Specialist Dental Group, a team of 11 doctors performs an array of services that go beyond the routine checkup and teeth cleaning, dental implants and cosmetic services like teeth whitening.
With a multi-disciplinary approach that includes prosthodontics, periodontics, paedodontics, orthodontics, oral and maxillofacial surgery, the team allows for multiple consultations and numerous procedures during a single visit.
“With about 60 to 70 per cent of our patients coming in from overseas, we try to make sure that the visit is as seamless as possible, offering all the consultations and procedures the same day,” said Dr Ansgar C. Cheng, a specialist in prosthodontics who first received his dental degree in Hong Kong and then furthered his studies at Northwestern University in America.
“We provide peace of mind and convenience with the best medical equipment to do the job right—it is like having added horsepower. And with our team of doctors, it is like having a staff of Michael Jordans,” he added. According to him, the multi-disciplinary approach saves the patient not just money, but time. Something that Specialist Dental Group understands, especially as medical tourists are often taking a solid bite out of their busy work schedules.
Digital x-rays and CT scans can be taken at the clinic with their imaging facilities, and the results are available quickly so that communication with patients speeds up the treatment.
“We also have the facilities to focus on medically compromised patients who need special attention during a procedure. These types of patients include those that have high blood pressure, diabetes, HIV or may be undergoing cancer treatment,” he said, adding that “dental treatment needs has to be tailor-made for specific conditions, and we go beyond just simple procedures.”
While the group sees over 10,000 patients a year from across Asia, they have undertaken incredibly notable surgeries according to Dr Ho Kok Sen, a dental specialist in oral and maxillofacial surgery.
He explained how it took the collaboration of the whole team to fix a botched jaw operation that had previously left a 52-year-old Indonesian patient disfigured, with reoccurring infections. The patient also had the rare condition known as ameloblastoma, a slow-growing tumour in the jaw caused by cells that normally develop with tooth enamel.
“For this operation, which had previously included a poor fitting titanium plate after a large part of his lower jaw was removed, it involved us taking bone from the patient’s left leg, fashioning it into a jaw bone, and implanting it into his mouth,” said Dr Ho. He went on to explain the complexity of the procedure, which involved grafting the bone in line with veins and blood vessels, and the muscles in the neck.
After the bone graft, it took three months for the patient to heal and that was when Dr Ho and his team began the dental implants.
“The procedure, which normally takes over a year to finish was done in just three months. We were working with soft tissue, bone, a new titanium plate and finished with dental implants and zirconium crowns. Now, the patient looks almost identical to how he looked before and can speak and eat properly,” said Dr Ho.
Dr Cheng, who also participated in the successful jaw reconstruction surgery, remarked how such a daunting task would not have been possible without the collaborative environment fostered in the hospital working across different specialties in Singapore.
“This is the true advantage Singapore has over other countries in the region. We can collaborate with over 500 specialists in different fields. This is where you can have peace of mind, and a safe transit with successful medical outcomes,” he said.